Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 7 /Trend, N.Ismayilova/
U.S. attaches an important role to Azerbaijan, whose proven oil reserves exceed seven billion barrels, in the region because the country is a major exporter of hydrocarbons, and an important transit point for shipments of oil and gas from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to the West.
"Development of [Azerbaijani] infrastructure, including Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Supsa pipeline and the South Caucasus Pipeline, plays an important role for Azerbaijan and the whole region," senior energy expert of American Center for Strategic and International Studies, Edward Chow said to a press briefing at the Trend International News Agency in Baku on Thursday.
According to him, more energy transportation projects can be realized with the development of the Southern Energy Corridor, and even if the renewable resources of Azerbaijan reduce within 20-30 years, there will be regional oil and gas projects, which will reimburse the shortage on the world market.
Southern Energy Corridor envisages construction of several pipelines, including Nabucco and ITGI, which will increase the export of Caspian gas and diversify sources of supply of this fuel to the EU.
"The U.S. government has always consistently referred to the Nabucco gas pipeline. Even after the change of government, the U.S. attitude towards Nabucco remains the same, ways of expressing this interest may change," said Chow, who has worked 20 years in the U.S. Chevron.
According to him, for the effective functioning of the Southern Corridor it is necessary to find the most economically attractive ways of transporting Caspian gas from Turkey to the West.
"First of all, Nabucco is a European project, but not American, so the U.S. government does not appropriate to recommend the most advantageous route for gas to Europe," said Chow.
According to expert, the existence of a well-developed gas transportation system is more priority for Azerbaijan than the search for additional sources to fill pipelines.
"That's why, the interest in projects such as ITGI has increased recently," said Chow.
The Nabucco project is worth 7.9 billion euro. Construction is planned to start in 2011, with the first supplies beginning in 2015. Its maximum capacity will hit 31 billion cubic meters per year.
Construction will be implemented in two main phases. The first phase (2011) includes laying a new pipeline with a length of 2,000 kilometers, starting at the Turkish border and ending in Austria's Baumgarten. The second phase (2014-2015) includes building the remainder of the pipeline on the borders between Turkey and Georgia, and Turkey and Iraq.
Nabucco participants are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE. Each has an equal 16.67-percent share.